by Robyn Buckley
I wish I could say that the horror movies that I saw at a young age caused me to do something profound like consider my mortality, but no. I wasn’t deep enough for that as a child – I may still not be! I mean that certain movies that I saw as a child changed my life in ways that continue until today.
Gremlins. I had to have been about five years old at the time. I'm sure I wasn't supposed to be watching it, but I have a brother who is four years older than me and I watched whatever he had on. I remember having fun with the movie, thinking Gizmo was adorable and that the Gremlins antics were so silly. Except for Stripe. I was terrified of Stripe. I got it into my tiny brain that Stripe would lead a guerrilla attack on my home. The only solution was to be aware of all entrances and to never give him the chance to attack me from behind. Sure, I was a child with no fighting ability, but if I saw him coming I could determine some form of defense! This idea lead to me sitting in a particular seat at the kitchen table in my parents' house – my seat had its back to the main portion of the kitchen; the only access was through a small kitchen window. My plan wasn't perfect as the Gremlins could still get in, but it was the smallest entry point, and I decided that meant I had the best chance of escape. The rest of my family would be sacrificed, but it was a risk I was willing to take for my own survival. I'd like to laugh and say I grew out of this stage, but I still sit in the same spot every time I visit my old house – one can never be too careful.
IT, and I don't flinch as much when my brother posts stupid clown memes on my Facebook wall. However, I’ll keep avoiding clown marionettes until the day I die – preferably not murdered by one.
Those are only a few of the scary movies that changed my life. I had a wild imagination as a child, and movies like Jaws and Jurassic Park made me give up swimming in pools for a summer (there might be a shark in the deep end) or start to sleep with my door shut (I decided velociraptors couldn’t open rounded doorknobs). Despite how much my active imagination warped me, I wouldn’t change having seen these movies at the age I did. Sure, they changed how I interacted with the world, but they were also fun and gave me a love for scary movies that continues until today. The difference now is that I've learned to separate the fiction of films from reality and can enjoy being scared without having it change my life!